WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has made no secret about what she wants to accomplish in her second term in office.
She rattles off the investigations she wants the new Republican majority in the House to launch immediately: Hunter Biden’s laptop, the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, federal aid to Ukraine and COVID-19′s origins.
The Rome Republican may be in a position to make it happen. She has become an outspoken ally of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, defending him against a challenge by fellow conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus. Greene said her colleagues were wrong in supporting an eleventh-hour challenge that ultimately was unsuccessful.
She expects to be rewarded for her loyalty by receiving an appointment to the powerful Oversight and Reform Committee. Three Georgians — Democrat Hank Johnson and Republicans Andrew Clyde and Jody Hice — serve on the panel, but Hice won’t be back next term.
Thursday, Republicans currently on the Oversight Committee announced that they will launch an investigation into whether President Joe Biden and his family were involved in “shady business schemes.”
“I’m looking forward to working with my Republican colleagues on this,” Greene wrote in response.
Later that same day, Greene, Clyde and other conservatives announced that they are introducing a resolution in hopes of forcing the Biden administration to detail how every penny sent to Ukraine has been doled out.
The upcoming session of Congress is expected to be very different from her inaugural term, when Democrats stripped her of committee assignments before she attended a single meeting, largely based on controversial statements she made before taking office.
In January, when Republicans take over with a razor-thin majority, Greene will join two or more committees. And because Republicans are likely to have a majority of about five members, just a handful of defections could derail legislation. That means every member, including Greene, will have the power to be a difference-maker.
Greene said she plans to use her vote to bring resources to Georgia through the reauthorization of the federal farm bill, possibly as a member of the Agriculture Committee. But it is her focus on investigations centered on Biden and his administration that has drawn the most attention as one of the House’s highest-profile members and newly empowered under a GOP majority.
This is why Greene has firmly insisted that McCarthy must become speaker, which can only happen if most of the conservatives who opposed him this week change their mind when the full House votes in January.
“We cannot open the door to the Democrats peeling off several of our Republicans and working together to choose a speaker that they would control,” she said this week. “We have to have the gavel; that is extremely important because the gavel means subpoena power, and Republicans need subpoena power going over the next two years.”
Without committee assignments to occupy her time in Washington over the past two years, Greene raised her profile by traveling the country with other far-right lawmakers and harnessing the power of her massive following on social media.
Before she was elected, many Republican lawmakers kept their distance and even supported her primary opponent. But once she was sworn into office, they defended Greene and said Democrats had gone too far in punishing her.
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, the longest-serving Republican in Georgia’s delegation, is among those who believes Greene should have the opportunity to prove herself.
“She’s going to get her committee assignments, and I think people should have showed her a little grace,” he said. “Give her a chance.”
Scott, a Republican from Tifton, said he isn’t concerned that Greene could take her enthusiasm for inquiries and investigations too far. No lawmaker has that kind of power, he said.
“Any individual member has the right to say things, but the conference as a whole will make the determination on what does and what doesn’t get investigated,” he said. “And so, I’m not worried about it at all.”
Floyd County resident Barry Boatner is glad to see Greene shaking things up in Washington.
“She’s feisty,” he said. “She doesn’t go in there and bow down to them. She stands up for what I believe.”